Media Matters: Defaming Journalists, Getting Sued

A controversial journalist and Republican activist has sued the left-wing Media Matters for America and its founder, David Brock, for slander and invasion of privacy, claiming the nonprofit is a, “hate machine organized and orchestrated to smear conservatives and Republicans who dare to speak out against the liberal orthodoxy and manipulation in the nation’s media.”

Anthony “Andy” Martin served Brock with the lawsuit on Thursday after Media Matters wrote a piece calling Martin an “anti-Semite.” In a letter dated March 30, 2007, Martin demanded a retraction and an apology with a notice that he would sue Brock and Media Matters for defamation/libel if the group did not comply.

“I am writing to ask that you retract your claims on both of your web sites that I am an “anti-Semite” and “actually mentally ill” as there is no basis in fact or law for such claims,” Martin wrote in his letter for retraction.

“Brock attacked Don Imus. He has attacked Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. And he as also smeared me,” Martin said. “I am in good company with national media personalities.

I have sued Brock and MMFA. He can defend his defamatory accusations in DuPage County, Illinois Circuit Court.”

I contacted Media Matters to speak with Brock about the lawsuit.

“He is very busy,” said Katherine Ely, who answered Media Matters’ phone. Ely said she did not know whether Brock was at work, but said a spokesman might call. Nobody has responded for comment.

Martin previously lodged two legal claims relating to accusations that he was anti-Semitic and won settlements in both cases, Martin’s lawsuit says. The defendants in those case are not named in the lawsuit.

Media Matters for three years has monitored conservative media and attacked high-profile conservatives with provocative language and out-of-context quotations. Brock is a former attack dog who posed as a conservative and now claims he made up stories about such people as Anita Hill, who charged Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment during Thomas’s confirmation hearings.

Brock outlined his lies and conversion to liberalism in his 2002 book, “Blinded By The Right.” He launched Media Matters in 2004 after conferring with Hillary Clinton.

“David Brock has invented a new form of political organization: a tax-exempt group that is subsidized by taxpayers while Brock gets to spew his hate/smears,” Martin said. “The sympathetic left-wing national media love it.”

Media Matters began its attack on Martin after I appeared March 1, 2007, on KSFO’s Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan’s morning show in San Francisco. I spoke about my research on Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama, his attendance at an afro-centric church and how Obama misrepresented his education in Islam. I said that I had spoken with Martin, who began research on Obama several years ago when Martin was running in the Republican primary for the Senate seat now held by Obama.

Media Matters ran a story the next day with the nearly incomprehensible headline, “In reviving Obama smears, Morgan guest/co-author cited reported anti-Semite with “well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”

It was a classic Media Matters’ slur that relied partly on decades’-old reports. In an effort to discredit me, Brock’s workers went after one person with whom I had spoken about Obama instead of reading my report published at and noting the array of sources I used. Brock’s methods of madness have not changed since his days spent disemboweling the left; he has simply switched focus.

“Plaintiff has been the leading, and for a long time the only, national source of investigative information and commentary about Sen. Barack (Barry) Obama, and has published extensively on Obama’s prevarications,” Martin’s lawsuit states. “In response, the defendants (Media Matters) have sought to attack plaintiff and smear him on the Internet as an “anti-Semite.”

Martin began reporting on Obama in 2004 and “was the first to research and disclose the Muslim family history of Obama and his relatives . . .” the lawsuit says.

Other major media including the Los Angeles Times, England’s Daily Mail, and the New York Times have confirmed much of Martin’s reporting on Obama’s religions.

In addition to the charge of anti-Semitism, Media Matters also regurgitated snippets from others’ reports suggesting Martin has suffered from mental illness. The insensitivity of Brock’s organization is striking considering his own bout with mental issues as he was writing his mea culpa, “Blinded by the Right.”

Martin has a long and storied past as a journalist, candidate for multiple elected offices, and civil rights advocate. He went to law school and has more recently written articles condemning George W. Bush and his links to Israel, and how Israeli policy influenced the war in Iraq. Though a registered Republican who may run again for Senate, Martin is highly critical of some in the GOP.

Martin supports the Israeli peace movement and has vigorously opposed “the Israeli military junta in Tel Aviv,” his retraction letter reads. “I am entitled to criticize Israel the state without being accused of being opposed to Judaism the religion . . .”

Media Matters’ attacks on Martin continued after a March 28 article in NewsMax in which Martin wrote about Obama’s white grandmother and claimed the senator was keeping her from appearing in public.

Media Matters again called Martin an anti-Semite in its headline of March 29, which read: “Anti-Semite Andy Martin in NewsMax: ‘Free Obama’s White Grandmother.” Media Matters also repeated a report that Martin called a judge a “slimy Jew” more than two decades ago and that he suffered from a mental illness.

Martin has clashed repeatedly with court officers, claiming Connecticut judges used false allegations of anti-Semitism against him to “distract from the illegal activity which was routinely conducted in the federal court,” Martin’s lawsuit says.

Martin is asking for no less than $100,000 for the two counts of alleged slander and invasion of privacy. A court hearing on status of the case is set for July 30, 2007 in the 18th Judicial Circuit of DuPage County, Ill.